Being introduced to new music can come in so many different forms that you sometimes discover a great band from the most unlikely source. For me hearing Archers of Loaf for the first time on MTV’s 120 minutes (back when MTV didn’t suck) was one of those times.
Cap’n Jazz – Analphabetapolothology (1998) (A great many of groups have traveled the “teen angst” sound and because of its over play, it turned from a movement into a joke. But not every piece of “teen angst” music was junk. The music that Cap’n Jazz pumped out when they were in their late teens is what I turn to when those moments resurface in my life. Granted they don’t sing about “how awful” this or that is, but the tension and aggression that they exude in almost every tune make me want to sport a Bad Religion t-shirt and smash into things. This is a collection of everything that Cap’n Jazz ever recorded. Crazy post punk riffs teamed with Tim Kinsella’s borderline terrible voice and a great/awful cover of “Take on Me” makes up one of the best 2 disc sets that I own.) Score – 8.5/10
Viktor Vaughn – Vaudeville Villain (2003) (There is a ton of really really bad hip hop that fills the airwaves on a sickening level. What is even more sad is that great MC’s like MF Doom (aka: Viktor Vaughn, King Geedorah & Zev Love X) get swept under the rug and are only heard by those who seek out the sound. This album is my favorite hip hop record of all time. It has amazing beats coupled with flawless delivery and flow from Viktor. Viktor’s delivery is part of what makes him amazing. He doesn’t stick to the traditional rhyming on the beats that many “rap artist” tend to do, instead finding a nice flow that tends to blow right through the beat. With lines such as “Flippin Like Optamis Prime into a Ten Wheeler” and “If you don’t watch her he might Hauser Like Doogie” how could you not love a guy who drops pop culture references every other line.) Score – 9.5/10
Shugo Tokumaru – Exit (2008) (This disc ended up on my 2008 album of the year list and for good reasons. Breathing fresh air into the indie pop world, Shugo created an album that is not only hook filled but also very dense, combining the best parts of traditional Japanese music with a modern pop twist. What keeps him from the larger American audience is the fact that he sings in Japanese. I know that a lot of people need to have a connection to the lyrics for them to like the songs, but what I find is that I connect to each one of the tracks and I will sing along with the words that I have no clue of their meaning. Shugo’s guitar skill is top notch especially in “Parachute” and the end of “La La Radio” where his quick fretting is on display. Sigur Ros has brought foreign language music to the masses and hopefully more people will give world music a shot because you are missing out if you don’t check out this record.) Score – 8.0/10
Archers Of Loaf – Vee Vee (1995) (Organized chaos would be an underselling this album by leaps and bounds, it is really a lot more complex than that. Blast a hole in your drywall detuned chugging guitar lines layered with schizophrenic leads and a anthem chanting lead singer who sounds like his vocal chords have seen the belt sander treatment, yeah that sounds about right. Vee Vee is easily my favorite Archers album as it balances the punk noise of their earlier material with the structure of their later. Intsantly catchy songs such as “Harnessed In Slums” (the video that originally turned me onto the Loaf) and “Underdogs of Nipomo” are great entry points for the band, like little indie ear worms. While frontman Eric Bachmann is more recognized for his Crooked Fingers work, Archers was his mecca and this one time college radio gem is a must for any-ones collection.) Score – 8.5/10